Billionaire Centralia Native Selling Private Island


Billionaire and former Centralia businessman Craig McCaw listed his 780-acre private island off the coast of British Columbia for sale last week at an asking price of $75 million.

McCaw, 62, a Centralia native, became a cellphone industry pioneer when he co-founded McCaw Cellular with his brothers and sold it to AT&T in 1993 for $11.5 billion, according to Forbes.

In 1994, McCaw purchased the property, known as James Island, for $26 million.

Over the next 18 years, McCaw transformed the island from an industrial plant and company town to an exclusive retreat, Mark Lester of Sotheby's International Realty in Vancouver, B.C., said.

“He brought it back to its natural environment,” Lester, who is overseeing the sale, said.

James Island, located a few miles off of Sidney, British Columbia, is accessible by private plane or boat, according to Sotheby's International Realty.

McCaw, whose net worth is $1.6 billion, developed a private Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, white-sand beaches, airstrip and a marina, according to the real estate agency.

McCaw also had six guest cottages built along with his 5,000-square-foot- house, a private dock, pool house and a “western village”.

To honor his hometown of Centralia, McCaw celebrated his 50th birthday in 1999 by shipping in set designers, vintage cars and even a high school band to complete a nostalgic reconstruction of his hometown, according to The National Post.

McCaw first tried selling the island in 2001 for $70 million but dropped the listing in 2003.

McCaw, and his wife Susan Rasinski McCaw, the former U.S. ambassador to Austria, run the Craig and Susan McCaw Foundation, which funds environmental, educational and international development projects.

McCaw started his telecommunication career in Centralia selling cable services door-to-door for his dad’s broadcasting business, before he became CEO of McCaw Communications and later earned his fortune.

In an email to The Wall Street Journal, McCaw said that his family "adores being on the island" but are selling now because they "have the perfect storm of kids' activities and no one wants to be left behind."


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